Saturday, April 19, 2014

Bargain Ebook: The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy



The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy is on sale for $1.99 in ebook format. The third book in the seriess--The Hero's Guide to Being an Outlaw--is released April 29th and I preordered it months ago. It is a fun series and my niece adores it. Here's an inexpensive way to try the series.

Book description:

Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You’ve never heard of them, have you? These are the princes who saved Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, and Rapunzel, respectively, and yet, thanks to those lousy bards who wrote the tales, you likely know them only as Prince Charming. But all of this is about to change.

Rejected by their princesses and cast out of their castles, the princes stumble upon an evil plot that could endanger each of their kingdoms. Now it’s up to them to triumph over their various shortcomings, take on trolls, bandits, dragons, witches, and other assorted terrors, and become the heroes no one ever thought they could be.

Christopher Healy’s Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom is a completely original take on the world of fairy tales, the truth about what happens after “happily ever after.” It’s a must-have for middle grade readers who enjoy their fantasy adventures mixed with the humor of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. Witty black-and-white drawings by Todd Harris add to the fun.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Gold E. Lahks Commercials




I have to admit that the fairy tales in advertising posts are some of my favorites to share. I missed this one for Hyatt Hotels until today because I haven't been actively looking for these as much of late. The campaign was launched in October 2013, so it's not too old.

Whenever I post fairy tale related advertising I also wonder what makes me love them so much--especially well-done campaigns like this one--and I think that it is comforting to see fairy tales used as part of pop culture. When they are used in advertising, it is proof that the well-known tales are still part of our public awareness and consciousness. Since they often use humor, too, they are just fun to watch. I appreciate cleverness. Even when it's trying to sell me something.

About the campaign:

This one’s too big… This one’s too small… This one is just right. Thanks to Hyatt Place, you’ll be seeing a familiar childhood character in the media these days. Goldilocks is back – but this time as Swedish, blond-haired character named Gold E. Lahks!

Using the tagline, “You’ll Know It’s Right When You See It,” the new advertising follows Gold E. Lahk’s search for a hotel that’s the perfect fit until he lands upon Hyatt Place. It’s all inspired by feedback we receive from our guests that, as Hyatt Place, we get it right for today’s multitasking travelers in both overall experience and our practical amenities. Just this year, guests helped Hyatt Place receive recognition from J.D. Power as highest in guest satisfaction among upscale hotel chains.

Here's another one, too:

Monday, April 14, 2014

Folktales of the Jews



Tonight marks the beginning of Passover and I am making charoset for the first time in my life as I attend a seder this week. No, I'm not Jewish myself but have a great respect for the culture and religion.

With my thoughts in that direction this week, along with a hundred others, I wanted to share my favorite set of Jewish folklore. This is not a set for beginners, thanks to price and size of the collection, but it is highly recommended if you have a more than passing interest in Jewish folklore. And, to be fair, these books altogether still cost less than smaller academic volumes of other folklore titles, so these may not be suitable for the casual folklore pocketbook, but they are well within reasonable price for the field of study. And any fine university library should include these, too.

The commentary and organization is also very helpful if you are interested in more than a light reading of stories although that is certainly possible with these.

Those outside the culture tend to think of Jews as one group, but this collection of tales aptly demonstrates the diversity and richness of a complex set of cultures and beliefs that fall under the label of Jewish. Using folklore, of course, which if you're here, you must be interested in, right?

Folktales of the Jews, Vol. 1: Tales from the Sephardic Dispersion

Thanks to these generous donors for making the publication of the books in this series possible: Lloyd E. Cotsen; The Maurice Amado Foundation; the National Endowment for the Humanities; and the National Foundation for Jewish Culture.

Tales from the Sephardic Dispersion begins the most important collection of Jewish folktales ever published. It is the first volume in Folktales of the Jews, the five-volume series to be released over the next several years, in the tradition of Louis Ginzberg's classic, Legends of the Jews.

The 71 tales here and the others in this series have been selected from the Israel Folktale Archives (IFA), named in Honor of Dov Noy, at The University of Haifa, a treasure house of Jewish lore that has remained largely unavailable to the entire world until now. Since the creation of the State of Israel, the IFA has collected more than 20,000 tales from newly arrived immigrants, long-lost stories shared by their families from around the world. The tales come from the major ethno-linguistic communities of the Jewish world and are representative of a wide variety of subjects and motifs, especially rich in Jewish content and context. Each of the tales is accompanied by in-depth commentary that explains the tale's cultural, historical, and literary background and its similarity to other tales in the IFA collection, and extensive scholarly notes. There is also an introduction that describes the Sephardic culture and its folk narrative tradition, a world map of the areas covered, illustrations, biographies of the collectors and narrators, tale type and motif indexes, a subject index, and a comprehensive bibliography. Until the establishment of the IFA, we had had only limited access to the wide range of Jewish folk narratives. Even in Israel, the gathering place of the most wide-ranging cross-section of world Jewry, these folktales have remained largely unknown. Many of the communities no longer exist as cohesive societies in their representative lands; the Holocaust, migration, and changes in living styles have made the continuation of these tales impossible. This volume and the others to come will be monuments to a rich but vanishing oral tradition.

Folktales of the Jews, Vol. 2: Tales from Eastern Europe

Thanks to these generous donors for making the publication of the books in this series possible: Lloyd E. Cotsen; the Maurice Amado Foundation; National Endowment for the Humanities; and the National Foundation for Jewish Culture.

The second volume in a literary landmark Folktales from Eastern Europe presents 71 tales from Ashkenazic culture in the most important collection of Jewish folktales ever published. It is the second volume in Folktales of the Jews, the five-volume series to be released over the next several years, in the tradition of Louis Ginzberg's classic, Legends of the Jews. The tales here and the others in this series have been selected from the Israel Folktale Archives at The University of Haifa, Israel (IFA), a treasure house of Jewish lore that has remained largely unavailable to the entire world until now.

Since the creation of the State of Israel, the IFA has collected more than 20,000 tales from newly arrived immigrants, long-lost stories shared by their families from around the world. The tales come from the major ethno-linguistic communities of the Jewish world and are representative of a wide variety of subjects and motifs, especially rich in Jewish content and context.

Each of the tales is accompanied by in-depth commentary that explains the tale's cultural, historical, and literary background and its similarity to other tales in the IFA collection, and extensive scholarly notes. There is also an introduction that describes the Ashkenazic culture and its folk narrative tradition, a world map of the areas covered, illustrations, biographies of the collectors and narrators, tale type and motif indexes, a subject index, and a comprehensive bibliography. Until the establishment of the IFA, we had had only limited access to the wide range of Jewish folk narratives. Even in Israel, the gathering place of the most wide-ranging cross-section of world Jewry, these folktales have remained largely unknown. Many of the communities no longer exist as cohesive societies in their representative lands; the Holocaust, migration, and changes in living styles have made the continuation of these tales impossible. This series is a monument to a rich but vanishing oral tradition.

Folktales of the Jews, Volume 3: Tales from Arab Lands

Thanks to these generous donors for making the publication of the books in this series possible: Lloyd E. Cotsen; The Maurice Amado Foundation; National Endowment for the Humanities; and the National Foundation for Jewish Culture

Tales from Arab Lands presents tales from North Africa, Yemen, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq in the latest volume of the most important collection of Jewish folktales ever published. This is the third book in the multi-volume series in the tradition of Louis Ginzberg’s timeless classic, Legends of the Jews.

The tales here and the others in this series have been selected from the Israel Folktale Archives (IFA), named in Honor of Dov Noy, at The University of Haifa, a treasure house of Jewish lore that has remained largely unavailable to the entire world until now.

Since the creation of the State of Israel, the IFA has collected more than 20,000 tales from newly arrived immigrants, long-lost stories shared by their families from around the world. The tales come from the major ethno-linguistic communities of the Jewish world and are representative of a wide variety of subjects and motifs, especially rich in Jewish content and context.

Each of the tales is accompanied by in-depth commentary that explains the tale's cultural, historical, and literary background and its similarity to other tales in the IFA collection, and extensive scholarly notes. There is also an introduction that describes the culture and its folk narrative tradition, a world map of the areas covered, illustrations, biographies of the collectors and narrators, tale type and motif indexes, a subject index, and a comprehensive bibliography.

Until the establishment of the IFA, we had had only limited access to the wide range of Jewish folk narratives. Even in Israel, the gathering place of the most wide-ranging cross-section of world Jewry, these folktales have remained largely unknown. Many of the communities no longer exist as cohesive societies in their representative lands; the Holocaust, migration, and changes in living styles have made the continuation of these tales impossible. This series is a monument to a rich but vanishing oral tradition.

This series is a monument to a rich but vanishing oral tradition.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Ikea's Lufsig: Wolf Eats Granny



So a few weeks ago I was in Ohio and stopped into the Ikea there--because there isn't one in Nashville! silly Ikea!--and didn't really expect to walk out with anything fairy tale, but I did.

Above is the Lufsig, a wolf doll with a little grandma. Now, this seems odd at first--and second and third--especially since there is no accompanying Red Riding Hood to make a set. Nope, this is just a wolf and granny.

But the kicker--and my niece Leighton and I discovered this after a little play instead of reading labels--is that the WOLF CAN EAT GRANDMA. Yes, the toy is designed to stuff grandma down the wolf's gullet. But never fear, his shirt unbuttons and you can rescue grandma. So the child gets to be the huntsman or even Red Riding Hood in this scenario and rescue the granny from the wolf's belly.

It's deliciously sick and is being marketed as empowering to children. I'll let you decide.

Toy description:

Your child can have fun recreating the fairytale by rescuing the grandmother from the wolf’s belly, safe and sound.

But wait! There's more! I am late to the game--and many of you perhaps have already heard about this toy--but this has also become a sell-out hit in Hong Kong. From How the Ikea Wolf became a political hero in Hong Kong:

In Hong Kong, a kids' big bad wolf soft toy with the characteristically friendly-sounding Swedish name "Lufsig" has become an unlikely symbol of political dissent. Lufsig has sold out in the territory's three Ikea stores, has racked up over 46,000 "likes" on its own Facebook page and was last seen being chucked at Hong Kong's chief executive CY Leung during a town hall meeting.

I didn't know this. But now I am even happier that this toy came home with me. It almost didn't. "You don't need another fairy tale toy," I told myself. But it was so wonderfully perverse and giggle worthy done up in cuteness for a $10 price tag. I couldn't resist.

And so Lufsig has been grinning at me from across my office--granny halfway down his gullet--for two weeks now. He's become one of my favorite fairy tale toys. I didn't used to be this grotesque, but fairy tales will do that to you. If you're reading the right ones.

I've been putting off this post, by the way, because I wanted to take some pictures of my wolf eating granny--I prefer her going down feet first although the head first is more comical in some ways. But I keep not having my camera and stuff convenient. Go ahead and search for images--there are plenty out there--Lufsig Ikea will be sufficient.



And this was part of Ikea's Soft Toy Campaign which raises money for children's education programs. There was apparently a set of Billy Goats Gruff, too, but darn it! They weren't in the Ikea I visited. The fairy was there, but Leighton got to take home that one and it matched her room perfectly colorwise. I want those goats since that is my go to story for sharing with children. My other niece, Kensie, currently adores it when she's not singing songs from Frozen.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Bargain Ebook: Stung by Bethany Wiggins



Stung by Bethany Wiggins is part of the April Monthly Ebook Deals. It is on sale for $1.99, its lowest price ever--I bought it a year ago when it was temporarily $2.99. It was marketed as a Beauty and the Beast themed novel, with some Sleeping Beauty elements, too, but I haven't read it yet. Last summer when I bought it was rather hectic and I forgot I owned it! That cover is hard to forget though.

The sequel, Cured, was released last month but is not bargain priced. It also appears the fairy tale themes are not as strong in the sequel. Definitely recommended for fans of post-apocalyptic novels, though.

Book description for Stung:

Fiona doesn't remember going to sleep. But when she opens her eyes, she discovers her entire world has been altered-her house is abandoned and broken, and the entire neighborhood is barren and dead. Even stranger is the tattoo on her right wrist-a black oval with five marks on either side-that she doesn't remember getting but somehow knows she must cover at any cost. And she's right. When the honeybee population collapsed, a worldwide pandemic occurred and the government tried to bio-engineer a cure. Only the solution was deadlier than the original problem-the vaccination turned people into ferocious, deadly beasts who were branded as a warning to un-vaccinated survivors. Key people needed to rebuild society are protected from disease and beasts inside a fortress-like wall. But Fiona has awakened branded, alone-and on the wrong side of the wall . . .

Two Shannon Hale Bargain Ebooks: The Book of a Thousand Days and Enna Burning



Two Shannon Hale books are bargain priced temporarily as part of the April Kindle Monthly Deals on Amazon and elsewhere. The Book of a Thousand Days is one of my favorite of Hale's books, a retelling of the lesser known Maid Maleen. It is a lovely book and hasn't been sale priced in a while. Highly recommended!

The other sale book is part of the Bayern series that started with The Goose Girl, Enna Burning (Books of Bayern).

Both books are usually in the $6 range and are currently $1.99 each.

Book description for The Book of a Thousand Days:

Based on a classic Grimm's fairy tale, this is the story told by Dashti, a maid from the steppes of a medieval land, who sacrifices her freedom to accompany her mistress into exile. Imprisoned in a remote tower after Lady Saren refuses to marry the man her father has chosen, the maid and the lady have almost nothing in common. But the loyalty that grows between the two, the man they love in different ways for different reasons, and the lies they tell because of and in spite of each other, combine to evoke the deepest bonds, transcend the loneliest landscapes, and erupt in a conclusion so romantic, so clever, and so right that no reader will be left dry-eyed.

Bargain Ebook: Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott



Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott is on sale in ebook format for $2.99, the first time this book has dropped to a bargain price. I didn't own it yet, and now I do! This is a Cinderella retelling that is quite unusual with a revenge theme to it. And it is set in Japan. So this is far from your expected Cinderella story.

Marriott previously drew inspiration from the Six Swans tale in The Swan Kingdom, which has never been released in ebook format.

Book description:

A powerful tale of magic, love, and revenge set in fairy-tale Japan. Trained in the magical art of shadow-weaving, sixteen-year-old Suzume is able to re-create herself in any form - a fabulous gift for a girl desperate to escape her past. But who is she really? Is she a girl of noble birth living under the tyranny of her mother's new husband, Lord Terayama? Or a lowly drudge scraping a living in the ashes of Terayama's kitchens? Or is she Yue, the most beautiful courtesan in the Moonlit Lands? Whatever her true identity, Suzume is destined to use her skills to steal the heart of a prince in a revenge plot to destroy Terayama. And nothing will stop her, not even the one true aspect of her life- her love for a fellow shadow-weaver.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Today Only Ebook on Sale: Handbook for Dragon Slayers by Merrie Haskell



Handbook for Dragon Slayers by Merrie Haskell is on sale in ebook format today only for $1.99. Haskell has been also known to play with fairy tale retellings more overtly than here, so I thought I would share for her fans at SurLaLune. See The Princess Curse, for example, which is $5.98 the usual price for today's sale book, too.

Book description:

Like Gail Carson Levine’s books, Merrie Haskell’s middle-grade fantasy / adventure Handbook for Dragon Slayers mixes magic, mythical creatures, thrilling action, and a wonderful cast of characters.

Political upheaval sends Princess Tilda fleeing from her kingdom in the company of two hopeful dragon slayers. The princess never had any interest in chasing dragons. The pain from her crippled foot was too great, and her dream was to write a book.

But the princess finds herself making friends with magical horses, facing the Wild Hunt, and pointing a sword at the fire-breathing creatures. While doing things she never imagined, Tilda finds qualities in herself she never knew she possessed.

Handbook for Dragon Slayers is a deeply satisfying coming-of-age tale wrapped in a magical adventure story.

New Book: Boy, Snow, Bird: A Novel by Helen Oyeyemi



I recently received a review copy of Boy, Snow, Bird: A Novel by Helen Oyeyemi. I really don't enjoy personally reviewing these books anymore for multiple reasons which I won't bog down the blog with today. (In short, I bring way too many aspects to the table and know you readers bring a wide range of tastes and expectations for fairy tale retellings.) So I will just share what is essentially my short review:

My realm is that of avid fairy tale readers, those who read across genres, focused more on the retelling than the genre itself. This new rendition will appeal to some and repel others, falling more into the literary fiction--often dubbed "high literature"--than the usual genres many fairy tale retellings fall within, most often fantasy for obvious reasons.

Oyeyemi has become a darling in this literary genre and well deserves it judging from this retelling. She is readable and works in fascinating ways with the folklore she references. This is essentially a historical novel that uses Snow White to explore racial and familial relations in intriguing ways. While the text is highly readable, it is not always easy, and the messages are deep and are intended more to provoke thought than entertain. So take that into consideration when choosing this book.

One of my favorite lines, a response to a question about breaking a magic spell (which may mislead you into thinking this book is more fantastical than it is):

"I told her that magic spells only work until the person under the spell is really and honestly tired of it. It ends when continuing becomes simply too ghastly a prospect."

That gives you a small, small taste of the book's themes and thoughts. In other words, I recommend this book, with reservations for your personal reading tastes. If you want light romance and/or fantasy--nothing wrong with that, I am a librarian by training who respects all tastes--this will not satisfy your craving. If you want something off the beaten path, try this.

In other words, if you want literary, this is for you. If you want light romantic fantasy, stay away.

There is a much better review of the book at The New York Times--because this is the type of book they review--here at White Lies: ‘Boy, Snow, Bird,’ by Helen Oyeyemi By POROCHISTA KHAKPOUR. If that article doesn't sell the book to you, not much will convince you to read it.

And while we are here, I never did post my usual new release post about the book either, so for continuity's sake, here is also the official book description:

Named one of 2014’s most anticipated books by CNN, The Huffington Post, Bookpage, Time.com, The Chicago Tribune, Vulture, Philadelphia Inquirer, Real Simple, The Millions and Flavorwire
From the prizewinning author of Mr. Fox, the Snow White fairy tale brilliantly recast as a story of family secrets, race, beauty, and vanity.

In the winter of 1953, Boy Novak arrives by chance in a small town in Massachusetts, looking, she believes, for beauty—the opposite of the life she’s left behind in New York. She marries a local widower and becomes stepmother to his winsome daughter, Snow Whitman.

A wicked stepmother is a creature Boy never imagined she’d become, but elements of the familiar tale of aesthetic obsession begin to play themselves out when the birth of Boy’s daughter, Bird, who is dark-skinned, exposes the Whitmans as light-skinned African Americans passing for white. Among them, Boy, Snow, and Bird confront the tyranny of the mirror to ask how much power surfaces really hold.

Dazzlingly inventive and powerfully moving, Boy, Snow, Bird is an astonishing and enchanting novel. With breathtaking feats of imagination, Helen Oyeyemi confirms her place as one of the most original and dynamic literary voices of our time.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

TODAY ONLY: Italian Folktales by Italo Calvino is $1.99



Folks, this is a run, don't walk, to get this deal before it disappears tonight. Today only on Amazon, but hopefully price matched elsewhere, Italian Folktales by Italo Calvino is $1.99 in ebook format. This book is usually in the $10 range so it is a big bargain. More importantly, it's a great collection of fairy tales and folklore. Calvino retells Italian tales, obviously, and you'll find iterations of many of the best known tales. The book is on a lot of recommended folklore reading lists, too.

I own this one in hardcover--I have for years--but I dashed to purchase an ebook copy since it is thick and heavy in paper and doesn't travel well. Now I will always have it available in my pocket. Yay! (Have you read A Library In Your Pocket: How Having an E-reader Has Changed My Reading Habits by Jo Walton yet? That's the reason to own an ereader although I adopted much earlier, also thanks to a trip to Europe. I thought I would probably return the one I bought on trial after my trip. Didn't happen!)

Four other Calvino titles are also discounted today--go to Italo Calvino Bargain Ebooks for 3/20/14--but this is the most important to readers here. I bought them all for these great prices, but if you are on a budget, Italian Folktales is worth every cent and is worth giving up another small luxury this week.

Book description:

Chosen as one of the New York Times’s ten best books in the year of its original publication, this collection immediately won a cherished place among lovers of the tale and vaulted Calvino into the ranks of the great folklorists. Introduction by the Author; illustrations. Translated by George Martin. A Helen and Kurt Wolff Book

Bargain Ebook: The Woodcutter by Kate Danley for $1.99



The Woodcutter by Kate Danley is bargain priced to $1.99 today only in ebook format. This was discounted early in 2013 for the same price but many of you have acquired your first ereaders since then.

Book description:

Deep within the Wood, a young woman lies dead. Not a mark on her body. No trace of her murderer. Only her chipped glass slippers hint at her identity.

The Woodcutter, keeper of the peace between the Twelve Kingdoms of Man and the Realm of the Faerie, must find the maiden’s killer before others share her fate. Guided by the wind and aided by three charmed axes won from the River God, the Woodcutter begins his hunt, searching for clues in the whispering dominions of the enchanted unknown.

But quickly he finds that one murdered maiden is not the only nefarious mystery afoot: one of Odin’s hellhounds has escaped, a sinister mansion appears where it shouldn’t, a pixie dust drug trade runs rampant, and more young girls go missing. Looming in the shadows is the malevolent, power-hungry queen, and she will stop at nothing to destroy the Twelve Kingdoms and annihilate the Royal Fae…unless the Woodcutter can outmaneuver her and save the gentle souls of the Wood.

Blending magic, heart-pounding suspense, and a dash of folklore, The Woodcutter is an extraordinary retelling of the realm of fairy tales.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

New Book: Wayfarer: A Tale of Beauty and Madness by Lili St. Crow



Wayfarer: A Tale of Beauty and Madness (Tales of Beauty and Madness) by Lili St. Crow was released a few weeks ago. It's the second book, after Nameless: A Tale of Beauty and Madness (Tales of Beauty and Madness), in St. Crow's series. It retold Snow White while this new book retells Cinderella.

Book description:

New York Times bestselling author Lili St. Crow thrilled legions of fans with her dark paranormal series Strange Angels. Now she has created a stirringly romantic, deliciously spooky update of Cinderella, the alluring second volume in her trilogy Tales of Beauty and Madness.

The Charmer's Ball. Midnight. And one glass slipper...

Newly orphaned, increasingly isolated from her friends, and terrified of her violent stepmother, Ellen Sinder still believes she’ll be okay. She has a plan for surviving and getting through high school, which includes keeping her head down and saving any credits she can earn or steal. But when a train arrives from over the Waste beyond New Haven, carrying a golden boy and a new stepsister, all of Ellie’s plans begin to unravel, one by one.

Just when all hope is lost, Ellie meets an odd old woman with a warm hearth and a heavenly garden. Auntie’s kindness is intoxicating, and Ellie finally has a home again. Yet when the clock strikes twelve on the night of the annual Charmer’s Ball, Ellie realizes that no charm is strong enough to make her past disappear...

In a city where Twisted minotaurs and shifty fey live alongside diplomats and charmers, a teenage girl can disappear through the cracks into safety--or into something much more dangerous. So what happens when the only safety you can find wants to consume you as well?

Lili St. Crow is the author of the Strange Angels series for young adults and the Dante Valentine series, among others, for adults. She is also the author of Nameless, a companion book to Wayfarer. She lives in Vancouver, Washington with her family. Visit lilistcrow.com to find out more.